Cathedral Falls is a unique waterfall just off Highway 215 in North Carolina. I usually don’t blog about locations that are on private property, but the landowners here welcome sightseers.
The land is owned by Living Waters, a Christian Retreat Center. They’re very kind to allow visitors to access the waterfalls on their land, so please be considerate when you drop by and practice leave no trace principles.
Use the map below to navigate to the falls. Activate your mobile app while you’re still near civilization because there is zero cell service in the area.
Park in the gravel pull-off right in front of Living Waters. There are several entrances, so note that this will be the southernmost entrance to the property. The trail starts behind the sign that reads, PRIVATE PROPERTY, DANGER, ENTER AT OWN RISK. See the first photo above.
Apparently, this is the site of an old mill that was powered by the north fork of the French Broad River. There are 3 waterfalls at this site and many smaller cascades and rapids. I’m labeling this an attraction because French Broad Falls and Mill Shoals Falls are just a few steps from the road.
If you want to see Cathedral Falls, you’ll have to take the short trail to the left of the riverbank. It’s only a few hundred yards long. That said, the trail spits you out onto slick rocks that will spell disaster if you slip into the current. Take this hike seriously and know your limitations. Take trekking poles if you have them.
I tried to get a panorama of the cascade and the imposing bluffs, but I couldn’t capture the scale of it all.
This is a huge payoff for very little effort. If you’re in the area, I also recommend that you drop by nearby Courthouse Falls just a few miles away.